New Adland Competitors: Architects!

As if it weren't bad enough that tech companies and management consulting firms are stealing business from ad agencies, they now have architectural firms to contend with. Say what? Yup, that's right. Architectural firms. DC-based Hickok Cole Architecture has launched Jickok Cole Creative, which will offer branding, identity and print work for such companies as Bechtel, Cassidy Turley, Pfizer, the Patent and Trademark Office, Lowe Enterpises and more. It's all to help the firm's clients design and market their projects. Of the launch, Senior Principal Yolanda Cole said: "We've already had a graphic design component within the firm, and a strong marketing component. On the other side, there's a whole melding of what brand is, what lifestyle is, and how branding is making its way through lifestyle products." Watch your rear view mirrors, agencies.

Hey - wait a minute. No fair, Canada! You can't just swoop in and steal our clients! We're talking to you, Cossette. Keep your paws off that Chicagoland McDonald's account. What's Leo Burnett going to do now? Okay, just kidding. We love you, Cossette. Awesome work you've done with McDonald's Canada. No doubt you'll do well for Chicago as well. And it looks like your president, Brett Marchand, is very excited! “We're extremely excited about working with McDonald's Owner/Operators in the company’s hometown market. We started our partnership with one Canadian Owner/Operator 37 years ago in Quebec City, and this opportunity is another proud moment in our continued evolution with McDonald’s.” Today, Chicago. Tomorrow, McDonald's America?

Hmm, Cossette. Maybe you want the Miller Lite account? It's available now, since the brand has dumped Saatchi & Saatchi New York...without another agency lined up. Which leads us to believe things became untenable between the two. Of course no one is actually saying that. In fact, MillerCoors VP Pete Marino has nothing but kind words to say about Saatchi and its CEO -- telling Ad Age: "We appreciate the efforts and professionalism from Brent Smart and his team behind our brands. Any immediate needs for Miller Lite and Miller Fortune will be handled by other roster agencies, though we have a lot of current work to draw from that we recently debuted at our sales and marketing conference. We have no timetable for the longer term, and will take our time making decisions that strategically make sense for both brands." RFP time, Cossette?

After 15 years on the job, Ad Council President and CEO Peggy Conlon is retiring. The Ad Council Board has initiated a search for a successor who will be transitioned into the position in early 2015. Of her work for the Council, Ad Council Board Chair Debra Lee said, “Peggy took over the Ad Council at a critical point in history. She quickly organized the advertising industry’s response following the September 11th attacks, which changed the way the Ad Council did business and established the organization as the ‘go to’ source for messages on other crises moving forward, including Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the Haiti earthquake.” Of her exit, Conlon said, “It has been a tremendous privilege to be a steward of the Ad Council’s mission, representing the extraordinary pro bono efforts of our advertising, media and other agency partners, to stimulate action on key issues and make a measurable impact on our society. I look forward to doing all I can to support a seamless transition for the next president and CEO of this wonderful organization.”
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  • Geary LSF Highlights Omni-Channel Approach to Marketing With New Web site

    Well, it's almost the New Year -- and so that means it's time for a new Web site, right? Seems that's what Geary LSF has been thinking. The agency just launched a new one. But wait, before you yawn and fall asleep over this non-news of yet another ad agency launching yet another new Web site, read on.

    For its site relaunch, the agency has chosen to focus on something very interesting. And something most agencies haven't yet chosen to focus on. So what's this new, new thing? Omni-channel marketing, that's what. Some of you are like, "Wait, what? What's omni-channel marketing?"

    Put simply, omni-channel marketing is the practice of ensuring the customer experience is exactly the same whenever and wherever they come into contact with the brand. Oh and it's way more than just making print ads look like TV ads and billboards look like Web sites. Oh, no. It's much, much more. It involves mobile, in-store, eCommerce and more. Basically, omni-channel marketing aims to ensure that not only is the experience the same no matter which channel the customer chooses to experience the brand but also that the integration and hand-off between those channels is entirely seamless.

    And so, Geary LSF has chosen to highlight that approach to marketing and has made omni-channel the focus of its new Web site. Check it out.
  • Agency Searches For Santa With Elaborate Victorian-Era Expedition

    With its holiday card effort, Indiana-based Miller Brooks has embarked upon an exploration and the discovery of hidden truths. The agency began by recruiting mission participants via a display ad patterned closely after Ernest Shackleton’s famous advertisement of 1914 which sought crewmen for the Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The ads appeared in the classified sections of local publications.

    The agency next mailed clients and prospective clients a pseudo-Victorian map of the North Pole wrapped around a signed holiday greeting that did double-duty as a teaser postcard by showing a photo of a Santa-esque figure posing with a ship’s crew, and directing readers to TheExpeditionNorth.com for further information. All the materials came enclosed in an envelope that displayed an ornate, period-appropriate return address stamp, along with vintage postage stamps which in turn were selected to show scenes of ocean exploration.

    Additional recipients were alerted to the mission and its Web site through a series of email messages -- one that echoed the print ad and included era-appropriate advertisements for several of Miller Brooks’ clients and a second communication that announced the mission’s launch on the front page of an invented Victorian newspaper, the Voyager’s Weekly: A Graphic Compendium of Travelogues.

    When visitors arrive at TheExpeditionNorth.com, they are greeted by a summary of the voyage’s purpose, as well as a biography of the mission’s leader and a description of the Miller Brooks Society for Exploratory Illumination. A multi-part captain’s journal tells the story of the mission’s launch, travails, and eventual triumph in period-appropriate language accompanied by photoshopped images.

  • Saatchi LA Asks Us All to Unplug For The Holidays

    Saatchi LA is taking a new approach to the ad industry holiday card and has set out to raise something money can’t buy. The agency is asking people to hang up the phone during dinner, close laptops during family movies, unplug from social networks and plug into positive interactions with family to spend meaningful time with loved ones during this holiday season through its, Holidays Unplugged initiative.

    Here's how it works. The holiday e-card invites people to join the fundraiser here. Users pledge to unplug in hourly increments and for every hour pledged, Saatchi LA will donate $1, up to $10,000, to the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation in partnership with Adopt a Family.

    The program will remain open through January 4, and people can track the progress toward the 10,000-hour goal, make comments and share images and videos. The agency has drafted rotating copy for an automatically generated tweet/facebook post for when people pledge.

  • This Agency Gives You A Break From Your Facebook Feed's Vitriolic Outrage

    It's always a good thing to help the kids. Especially kids in need. And even more especially, kids who have limited access to creative endeavors. Throughout the year, brand strategy and design firm Lippincott partners with Creative Art Works, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering kids through creativity and bringing arts education to schools that have lost it.

    Lippincott’s 2014 "holiday card" celebrates the efforts the agency goes to throughout the year to help kids explore their creativity. So in a time when your Facebook feed is filled with an overflowing abundance of vitriolic outrage, you can take solace in the fact that there are still fleeting moments of heartwarming goodness in this world. I certainly wish there were more.

  • Grey New York Sticks Annoying Millennials In Their Own Private Playpen

    Oh, this is rich. Ever since the 88 million Millennials started swarming the office world, freaked out GenX and Baby Boomer managers have tried just about everything to better meld with these stereotypically self-entitled, hierarchy-agnostic, trophy-for-participation 20-somethings. Well, it seems Grey New York has found the answer.

    What's Grey's solution? They rounded up all the whiners...uh...Millennials and gave them their own playpen. No, seriously. A while back, the agency moved all its assistant account executives into one area of the office, effectively segregating them from their managers. Why? So they'll grow up and think before they speak. And that comes right from the mouth of a Millennial!

    Of the segregated office space, called Base Camp, Grey AAE Sean McNamara said, “Since I’m not sitting in front of my supervisor, I’m not able to just turn around and say, ‘Hey, this is what I think.’ It makes you think: When does this call for me to go over and talk about things, and when will an e-mail suffice?” That's right. Apparently, Millennials must be physically separated from their bosses to rescue management from an incessant stream of mindless, ill-thought-through banter.

  • Leo Burnett Eschews Holiday Silliness With Meaningful Toy Drive For Chicago Children

    It's nonstop charity action this year with ad agency holiday cards. It's as if every agency in the land is finally hanging their head in shame for the decades of trite, meaningless holiday silliness they've foisted upon us for far too long. Nice to see things changing.

    Leo Burnett Chicago is out with a program that makes donating gifts to children at Off The Street Club as easy as tweeting a photo. "Gift of Giving 2014" allows people to donate by snapping a Twitter or Instagram photo of the gift and tagging it with #GiftOfGiving2014.

    That gift image will appear on digital display gift boxes under an actual Christmas tree at Off The Street Club in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood and virtually at TheGiftOfGiving.co where one can search for it using one's screen name. Once found, people can download a prepaid postage label to ship that gift directly to Off The Street Club at no cost. Now isn't that much nicer that some silly video?

  • DigitasLBi Quiz Determines Your Ugly Holiday Sweater Preferences

    You know that holiday sweater? The silly one that the office doofus insists upon wearing every year? Yeah, that sweater. Well, now you can have one of your very own too. And all you have to do is take this Ugly Sweater quiz that DigitasLBi put together.

    So head over to the agency's sweater-ific quiz site and answer a few questions such as your preference in Blizzard Survival apps, wearables, holiday party bites and what you plan to watch come 2015. You'll then be presented with a "hand-sewn" customized sweater that may or may not end up being called The Bun Toaster. And after you have taken the quiz, the agency will make a donation to Goodwill in an effort to keep everyone warm this year.

    As you take the quiz, a very nice lady -- likely some agency person's grandmother -- furiously works on creating a masterpiece of personalized wonderment. Now if only the sweaters were real.

  • Boston Agency Asks Santa What He Wants For Christmas

    Boston-based Captains of Industry is asking us all to turn the tables a bit on the whole Santa Claus thing. After all, year after year after year, the poor guy has to do all the giving. What if we asked Santa what he wanted for Christmas? Well, that's exactly what Captains did.

    So, what does Santa want? The agency hit the streets of Boston to find out. And here's what they found: a slap chop, a reduction of parking fees for reindeer, bigger candy canes, a satellite radio for the sleigh, a few days off for Mrs. Claus, a little less turmoil in the world for a couple of weeks, more happiness, help for drug addicted family members.

    The video ends with a simple reminder: "This holiday season, let's remember there's a man behind the beard.”

  • 10 Books Every Agency Person Should Read

    Well, at least according to Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson, who has compiled a list of ten "mind-altering business books from 2014." He acknowledges that most business books simply repeat what many of us already know but these ten books (and a few honorable mentions) will truly shift your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities, according to Goodson.

    His list, compiled in a piece for Huffington Post, includes CREATIVITY INC: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, THE HARD THING ABOUT HARD THINGS: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and Sally Hogshead's HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination, among others.

    Check out the full list and get smarter. Because the last thing this industry needs is more of the same. We already have that is spades. Let's be different, Okay?

  • This Canadian Agency Used Airbnb to Raise Money For the Homeless

    In acknowledgement of the 3,500 homeless and 15,000 at risk households in their area, Calgary-based Trigger Communications decided to tackle homelessness in Calgary this season with what they are calling "The first-ever airbnb PSA." 

    The "PSA" which the agency created for Alberta charitable organization, The Mustard Seed, consists of airbnb listings that document what it's like to be homeless. Through social media, the agency encouraged people to book a night at one of these listings for $20 -- the same amount a person in Alberta receives for social assistance. 

    To further promote the fund-raising effort, the agency placed cardboard signs around the city promoting the listings. Now isn't that better than a bunch of agency employees tossing on some Christmas costumes and prancing around the office sharing their poor acting skills? Yes. Yes, it is.

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